The USDA estimated early-mid varieties at 40 million, down from 47.4 million at the end of last season, while the Valencia orange total is 40 million boxes compared to 49.3 million in 2014-15.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported the final 2014-2015 Florida orange crop tallied 96.7 million boxes.
“We expected the estimate to be lower than the prior year so this really isn’t too much of a surprise,” said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. “We are in a challenging time right now with severe disease pressure but Florida growers continue to be the best producers in the world.”
“The key going forward is to keep existing trees productive and get new trees in the ground so we can rebuild our production base while maintaining the current infrastructure.”
The USDA usually makes its initial estimate in October of each year and revises it monthly as the crop takes shape until the end of the season in July.
The estimate of the 2015-2016 Florida grapefruit crop is 12.3 million boxes. Specialty fruit checked in at 2.2 million boxes. The yield for frozen concentrate orange juice (FCOJ) is 1.61 gallons per 90-pound box.
The Florida citrus industry creates a $10.7 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 62,000 people, and covering about 460,000 acres. Founded in 1948, Florida Citrus Mutual is the state’s largest citrus grower organization. For more information, visit www.flcitrusmutual.com. To receive winter weather updates follow FCM on Twitter @FLCITRUSMUTAL.
AgNet’s Gary Cooper again anchored the LIVE annual broadcast for the 21st consecutive year, this year from a special clay shoot and BBQ event hosted by Florida Citrus Mutual at Baxter Troutman’s Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch near Lake Placid, which was a beautiful setting for this gathering of citrus growers. Cooper had the opportunity to speak with several attendees at the gathering, getting comments on the crop forecast numbers.
Hear the crop forecast released by USDA and check out more coverage of the crop forecast here.